Community members at the monthly Tomorrow’s Neighborhoods Today (TNT) meeting at the Southside Innovation Center. Photo by Laura Roman Lopez.

Violent Crime Down, Car Thefts Up

The South Side community met Monday to discuss crime and housing, with city leaders advocating for the passage of a state senate bill that would outlaw unwarranted evictions.

By Laura Román López and Greta Stuckey

City police warned residents at Monday’s Southside TNT meeting not to leave their cars running unattended, as tempting as that may be on a cold Syracuse morning.

Lt. Brian Novitsky said that most stolen cars in the city are Kias and Hyundais, some of which have a flaw that makes them easier to steal. But he said car thefts overall increase in the winter when vehicles are more often left running.

There were 3,466 stolen vehicles in the city last year, according to city crime statistics, a 35% jump from 2022. And this year could be even worse. There have been 113 stolen vehicles reported from Jan. 1 to Feb. 5, a 71% increase.

But Novitsky reported that violent crime is down so far this year. The city’s COMPSTAT report for Jan. 1 to Feb. 5 shows violent crime down 30% city-wide and nearly 38% in the Southwest District, which includes the South Side.

Cimone Jordan (left) and Kaylin Hubbard (right) present housing and foreclosure information and community programs to the audience. Photo by Laura Roman Lopez. 

“The goal is to keep people in their homes”

Monday’s meeting also featured a report from Cimone Jordan, director of Housing and Neighborhood Planning, and Kaylin Hubbard, Southside Neighborhood planner. The Department of Neighborhood and Business Development partners with residents, developers and community organizations to improve neighborhoods, address quality of life concerns, administer grants, and develop quality affordable housing. 

“The goal is to keep people in their homes,” Jordan said. 

Jordan and Hubbard focused on tenants’ rights and foreclosures and advocated for a proposed law, the Good Cause Eviction bill, now before the state Senate (2023-S305). The bill would prohibit eviction without good cause. Jordan and Syracuse City Auditor Alexander Marion urged community members to call their representatives in support of this program. State Senator Rachel May represents the South Side. She is a co-sponsor of the bill.

Special Project Pitches

Three community members presented their special project proposals at the meeting in hopes of receiving funding. One, the Southside Community Network Day and Waymaker Celebration, is planned for Sankofa Park on June 1. The event will include entertainment, local organizations and vendors.

Community members also made the case for funding for Earth Day, the Clean and Green Initiative and supplies for the Kwanzaa Village Community Garden.

Community members also recognized Julius Lawrence for his work in the South Side neighborhood. 

Lawrence, a TNT facilitator, received a medal of distinction from New York State Assemblywoman Pamela J. Hunter’s office for being an exceptional community leader and creating a positive environment. Awarded by Tina Zagyva, director of constituent and support services, Lawrence was recognized for his “testament to your passion and lasting impact.”

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